Quick & Easy Homemade Tartar Sauce

September 22, 2014 by


Once upon a time I lived very close to a Trader Joe’s and shopped there on a weekly basis. One item that frequented my list was Trader Joe’s Tartar Sauce with Dill and Jalapeno. 

Then we moved far away. The nearest TJ’s was over 5 hours away. I used to joke that I missed TJ’s more than I missed my family. (Of course, that’s not true, but it made the cashier laugh).

When friends who know my deep affection for Trader Joe’s were going to be in the area of one, they always graciously offered to pick up a few items for me. I bet you can guess what was at the top of my list.

One evening we were having dinner with some very dear friends of ours who served fish from the lake we had a view of as we ate. Served on the side was the best tartar sauce I had ever had. My gracious host informed me that it was simply mayo, pickle, and onion. I was impressed. 

It turns out that we now have a Trader Joe’s only 2.5 hours away from us. While I usually have the opportunity to visit this store once or twice a year, I now make my own tartar sauce. Yep, that item has been crossed off my list. TJ’s has great prices on most of their items, but because I can make this so easily at home and save money at the same time, homemade it is. (Don’t tell them, but I like mine even better). 

just in case you’re still buying it in the jar. Not only will it save you some moolah, but you can customize it to your tastes.

Quick & Easy Homemade Tartar Sauce

The Members

1 cup mayonnaise (any brand will work, as well as homemade)

1 – 2 Tablespoons pickle relish or chopped pickle, according to taste (you can use regular or sweet – I prefer regular)

1 – 2 Tablespoons diced onion (according to taste – I used about 1/4 of an onion)

1 teaspoon of dill (optional)

1 – 2 Tablespoons chopped jalepeno (optional you can use fresh, jarred, or frozen – I have used all)

1 – 2 Tablespoons lemon juice (optional – I don’t use)

*Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. You are not obligated to make any purchases, but when you do through one of my links or the Amazon search box to the right, I will make a small percentage on the sale. Thank you for supporting my site.

The Method

Using this handy chopper, I dice onion, jalepeno, and pickles until chopped fine. I add mayo and dill, stir, and refrigerate until I am ready to use.

Some tartar sauce recipes will suggest adding lemon juice. I don’t because I prefer mine to be creamy rather than tangy. If you prefer the tang, add the lemon juice 1 Tablespoon at a time, tasting as you go. Keep in mind that adding liquid will make your sauce thinner.

Speaking of adding liquid, if you’d like to kick it up a notch, you can try adding a little juice from a jar of jalepenos.

At this point, you can always add additional spices for more flavor. Ground red pepper or horseradish can be added for a spicy kick. Black pepper and lemon pepper add a unique flavor. You can try some Italian Seasoning or Ranch Dressing seasoning. Maybe a pinch of mustard? I’ve used both smoked paprika and ground chipotle pepper with great results.

Keep it simple or experiment and have some fun.

Most recipes suggest preparing this a few hours before serving to allow the flavors time to incorporate. I have, however, used it immediately with good results.

Be sure to check back tomorrow when I share a tasty recipe that will give you an opportunity to use this yummy sauce.

What do you think? Have you ever made homemade Tartar Sauce before? Do you prefer it creamy, tangy, mild, or spicy?

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Shared on Homegrown & Healthy, Frugal By ChoiceThe Sustainable CoupleStrangers & Pilgrims on Earth, & The Deliberate Mom.

Also on Kitchen Table Art, Baking In PyjamasCup Cakery, Cornerstone ConfessionsNew Mrs. AdventuresPick Any TwoBuns In My Oven, & the Wednesday Roundup.



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18 Responses to Quick & Easy Homemade Tartar Sauce

  1. Katie @ Pick Any Two

    Oh, Trader Joe’s, how I miss it so! I used to live within 15 minutes of one and shopped there all the time. Now I’m an hour away, which is still pretty close, but I definitely don’t do my weekly shopping there. I’ve never tried making homemade tartar sauce before, but it definitely sounds doable! Thanks for sharing, and thanks for linking up with the #SHINEbloghop!

  2. JES

    This looks delicious! We too moved far from a Trader Joe’s which broke my heart! We miss the dried unsweetened mango slices, dark chocolate caramels, frozen battered halibut (which would be great with this sauce)… I suppose I could lament further but I will leave that for another day 🙂 Thank you for sharing at the Art of Home-Making Mondays last week! Please join in again this week!

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